Bad Hair Day

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Eyeworth Pond and back to watch the birds.

Golden gorse glowed in the sunshine on Hinchelsea Moor and many others.

The deciduous trees, like this oak, are all filling with foliage.

Walkers along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

gave scale to the giant redwoods.

Mandarin ducks are not native to UK, but we now have a feral population which originates from escapees from collections. These two males brightened an otherwise dull Eyeworth Pond.

Birders tend to place nuts and other food on the posts of the gate to the woodland footpath. A moss-covered log has recently been added. The blue tits, a coal tit, a nuthatch, chaffinches and sparrows were extremely busy today swooping to pick up and dart off with nutriment for the babies in their nearby nests.

A pair of sparrows left a tardy chaffinch on the ground beneath the post upon which they filled their beaks, debating who should set off first. Although not up to his flying bird sequence the last of these pictures is a nod to Tootlepedal.

Alongside Cadnam Lane a couple of pigs have joined

the grazing ponies and recumbent cattle now fertilising the greens alongside Cadnam Lane

One pony demonstrated its ungainly rise from the ground;

a small Shetland was definitely having a bad hair day.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev; Lyonnaise potatoes with lashings of onions; red cabbage cooked with butter and red wine; and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. Jackie finished the Sauvignion Blanc, while I drank the last of the Carménere.

He Doffed His Cap

This cloudless, sunny, day remained quite cool (13c tops). We took a drive into the forest this afternoon.

Holmesley Passage benefited from the sunlight streaming through the trees. The two vehicles in these pictures demonstrate how narrow is this lane.

Each of the above motors is approaching one of the two fords that cross the passage.

The woodland scenes that border the lane include a number of fallen tress making their contribution to the local ecology.

As we reached the lowest point of this passage across the moors, a pair of hopeful ponies thudded across the turf.

The splendid oak tree on the descent into Burley towards the Queen’s Head is coming into leaf

Today, hungry donkeys seemed to outnumber the ponies at North Gorley, where a 2017 finisher took his eager dog for a run.

While photographing horses in the landscape rising to Gorley Common, I noticed

a horse and trap approaching. After I had taken the last shot the friendly driver doffed his cap.

This stream with its reflections was one of many we passed.

Jackie’s meals are all very good. Occasionally, as with tonight’s delicious chicken jalfrezi, she excels herself and produces something that would make any self-respecting chef from the Indian sub-continent sit up and take notice. Her savoury rice was equally praiseworthy and was accompanied by vegetable samosas and a paratha. The Culinary Queen drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Carménere.

Almost Blown Away

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

James, of Peacock Computers, visited to examine the iMac, and took it away to restore it to working order. In anticipation of the Apple’s removal, I had scanned a set of photographic prints from May 1993 onto the Windows laptop. We had also thought the weather would be bad this afternoon and I would be able to use these to illustrate today’s post. In the event, the sun shone and the winds were high enough, at more than 50 m.p.h. to suggest a trip into the forest. The 1993 set will appear tomorrow.

Cattle on hillside

A short distance  outside East End cattle grazed on a hillside that was topped by an oak tree sporting a car tyre.

Falabella

The little falabella pony which

Ponies at poolside

sometimes joins its cousins outside St Leonard’s Grange,

Falabella pony

 

spent its time crossing from one side of the road to the other.

Ponies on road

Another just stayed in the road.

Ruin in silhouette

When we reached this point, one of the ruins of the granary was nicely silhouetted

Ruin before sunset

against the lowering sun, bestowing a sepia tone.

Pheasants

We continued along the road, intending to return for sunset. Pheasants chased each other across the lanes and the autumnal fields.

Ruin at sunset

On our return golden streaks stretched along the sky.

Skyscape

We took a diversion down Tanners Lane on our journey home. Those streaks had deepened over the Isle of Wight.

Windsurfer

The winds pressed so strongly against the car door that it felt as if it was close to a wall. Just one other vehicle was parked in front of us. Perhaps it belonged to the windsurfer

Windsurfer

who skimmed over the choppiest waves we have ever seen there,

Windsurfer

constantly changing

Windsurfer

direction, and almost blown away.

This evening we dined on Jackie;s gorgeously spicy chilli con carne, with her most savoury rice wearing an omelette jacket. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

I Was Set Up

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Somewhat encouraged by the lack of adverse effects on my knackered knees after the long, flat, walk round Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve, I decided to take the somewhat shorter, yet undulating, route through Honeylake Wood. At about halfway I ventured into the undergrowth, after which I turned back.

A pedestrian gate breaking a hedge serves as an entrance to the field leading to the wood.

Reflection of hedge

The hedge was reflected in the muddy verge beside Christchurch Road.

Oak tree

A bent and aged oak on one edge of the field bowed beneath the prevailing wind,

which even around mid-day bit into me as I crossed to the wood.

Honeylake Wood entrance

On my way in the leafy path offered welcoming shelter,

Honeylake Wood exit

while a sight of Downton’s cottages as I left it gave notice that home was near, if not in sight.

Forest floor

Often springy underfoot, the forest floor,

Squirrel

over which squirrels scampered,

Stream

was, especially near the stream, occasionally waterlogged.

The wind roared overhead. There was much evidence of broken trees,

Autumn leaf

and, although some autumn leaves had not yet reached the ground,

others glowed in the sunlight

which played among the trees.

The bridge had been so severely damaged as to deter anyone from leaning on the rickety rail; a sapling had been converted to an entrance arch.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic sausage casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Basson Shiraz 2014. The others didn’t drink their Kronenbourg 1664 until afterwards so that didn’t count.

A minute particle of my casserole splashed up from my plate and onto my grandfather shirt. Jackie and Ian swooped on me to supplement the stains and Becky grabbed the camera. I was set up, I swear it.

A Good Arboreal Scratch

We enjoyed another bright and sunny day, albeit a little cooler. A light, short-lived frost had left strings of pearls around our early flowers including

Hellebore

hellebores I had overlooked yesterday,

Prunus pissardi 1Prunus pissardi 2

and prunus pissardi.

This afternoon I watched recorded highlights of last Sunday’s drawn rugby match between Ireland and Wales. This is a very rare result these days, and you have to go back 42 years to the last evenly scored game between these two teams.

After this, Jackie drove us to Ferndene Farm Shop where we bought three bags of compost; then meandered around the forest as far as Godshill and back along Roger Penny Way.

Cloudscape 1Cloudscape 2Cloudscape 3Cloudscape 4

Ponies and magpie

The sun romped in and out of the clouds in the ever-changing skies spilling light and shade over the heathland where well-fattened ponies, with their magpie acolytes, chomped their way across the turf.

Ponies crossing road

When these free-creatures of The New Forest fancied the grass would be greener on the other side, they wandered across the road, exercising their inalienable right to hold up the traffic.

Shattered fallen tree

The recent storms have brought down numbers of trees such as this oak, its trunk shattered, on the approach to Burley,

Oak tree

where another, more dead than alive, still stood,

Pony scratching

and where one pony left its companions foraging whilst it had a good arboreal scratch.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken curry; savoury rice; and vegetable samosas and pakoras; followed by Sicilian lemon tart and evap. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Fortnum & Mason Saint-Emilio grand cru 2011, given to me by Luci and Wolf for Christmas.

Ermine Trimming

Cloudscape over garden By mid-morning overnight rain had cleared, making way for sunshine to give a fluffy ermine trim to the clouds over both our garden and the rest of the landscape which glistened with raindrops dripping into the pools and ditches. Cloudscape over treesCloudscape with treesLandscapeOak tree                                                                        I took the same walk as yesterday as far as Vicarage Lane, this time crossing it to continue along Sky End Lane, turn right into Everton Road, and eventually right into Farmers Walk to Everton Nurseries where Jackie, having bought three Bishop of Llandaff dahlia tubers and various items of bird food, was finishing her coffee whilst waiting to drive me home.

As I splashed my way along the lanes, knowing that toads like this weather, I kept an eye out for a smiling one, but I was disappointed. TwigsBubbles                                                                    The scudding clouds gradually dispersed overhead and buoyant bubbles eventually burst on the surface of the swollen ditches.

Mirror

The first section of Sky End Lane is narrow and winding and consequently contains a number of reflective mirrors, one of which was crossed with cracks, rain having tarnished the exposed silvering.

A cock crew along Everton Road where smaller birds chirruped in the trees. and from the woods on the other side of Christchurch Road I think I heard a pheasant shoot. Woman walking terrier                A white-haired woman wearing a bright red coat which reflected on the wet tarmac, with a small  black terrier in tow, could be seen in the distance as I entered Farmers Walk. Because her female pet held her up every time she needed a sniff, it didn’t take me long to catch them up. We laughed about the animal’s doubling the time it took to walk along the lane.

This evening we dined at our neighbours, The Royal Oak pub. They were very full, for the first time since we have known the establishment. In just a month Carl and Debbie, the new tenants, seem to have turned it round, bringing in a number of local residents. I ate beef madras and profiteroles, whilst Jackie enjoyed a half rack of ribs and sticky toffee pudding (which wasn’t actually sticky) and custard. I normally avoid curry in a pub, because it can never match the real thing, but this one was rather good. Jackie drank Becks. My choice of beverage was Ringwoods fortyniner.

Early Morning Sun

On her way to an early morning shopping trip Jackie dropped me at Silver Street near Ashley, and i walked back via Everton Road and Hordle Lane. It was a relief to turn right Early morning suninto the lane after walking directly into the glaring sun. The explosion of red, yellow, and green baubles picked up by the camera lens beset my own irises, gradually changing to purple and blue, blinding me to much else, especially oncoming prams and buggies.

This experience took me back to Harrow Road, N.W.10, in the early 1970s when my Social Services Area Office was housed at the Ladbroke Lane  end of that thoroughfare. This busy road runs East to West from Central London. On a morning such as this I witnessed the aftermath of an accident in which a driver, similarly dazzled, had, coming from the West, crashed into the back of a stationary bus. I reflected that, perhaps, like me today, he had not been wearing sunglasses.

BearOpposite the children’s nursery in Hordle Lane, a forlorn little bear sat on a wall. Perhaps an equally sad infant will return to retrieve it and her happiness.

Beyond the school and the church the lane is bounded by fields, and the pavement Shadows on fieldShadow of gatedisappears. Long shadows of trees and me were cast across the grass, and that of their Oak tree landscapegate crisscrossed the drive to Apple Court Nurseries. Oak trees were silhouetted against the landscape.

Horses that had worn protective masks against swarms of irritating flies in the height of the Horsessummer, now clad in colourful sleeveless overcoats, slaked their thirsts in pools of water lying on the surface of their paddock.

ViolasBack home, the winter flowering plants, such as these violas, soaked up the sunshine.

Such was the buoyant mood in which I returned from my walk, that even BT couldn’t shatter it. But they tried. Oh boy!  Did they try!

Anyone who has been following the fiasco that began at the end of October may have been surprised that I had stopped writing about it. That is because for a few days now we have enjoyed an uninterrupted Broadband service. At 10.51 a.m. I received an e-mail telling me that my new service would begin on 15th December. Further down, in a section headed ‘small print’, subsection ‘cancellation’, was a statement that the new service had already started. What the service was, other than simply ‘broadband’ was not indicated. Since the five working days after which we should have reverted to our old copper system is well passed, and the broadband is working satisfactorily I thought that was the end of it. I had been promised an e-mail telling me when it had been activated, but didn’t receive one.

I then had the first of two conversations with an adviser who was as confused as I was. She suggested I waited until 15th December to see what happened. Whilst I was speaking to her, at 10.55, another e-mail came in telling me that the new service was ready. This prompted a further call from me. After a lengthy time listening to music whilst the sensible adviser discussed the matter with the orders department, a comprehensible answer was forthcoming. We had reverted to the old system. The 15th December service was faster broadband, but not Infinity. The Hub 5 should still work. I had, of course been told that it wouldn’t function with the old service and I would have to change back to the old Hub 3. But it did, so I hadn’t.

While I was at it, I said I wanted to revert to paper billing. This was arranged, and my adviser asked if there was anything else she could do for me. Great hilarity was occasioned by my reply: ‘Yes. Sort your company out’.

at 11.45 I received this e-mail:

Thanks for contacting us.

We found an answer on our Help website that you’ll be interested in:

Our website at BT.com is changing all the time, so please visit for:

  • Help – find fixes and tips, download user guides and watch video demos at www.bt.com/help.
  • My BT – view your bill, make a payment, track orders and manage your services at www.bt.com/mybt.
  • BT Life – check www.bt.com/btlife regularly for the latest news, offers and much more.
  • BT Products & Services – see our range of products, services and tools at www.bt.com

Thanks,

BT Customer Service’

If this is all doing your head in, just imagine what six weeks of it has done to mine.

This evening all was again right with the world when we dined on flavoursome pork chops roasted with mustard, brown sugar, almonds, and mushrooms; crisp carrots, cabbage, runner beans; and swede and potato mash. Dessert was spicy bread and butter pudding. I had custard on mine. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I enjoyed Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2014.